The National EMS Pilots Association (NEMSPA) is announcing the initiation of the testing phase for the Enroute Decision Point (EDP) protocol. Teamed with Allianz Corp., NEMSPA is launching the EDP protocol to enhance safety and prevent inadvertent flight into IMC conditions in the Helicopter EMS industry. Inadvertent IMC is a leading cause of EMS helicopter accidents and can be avoided with the proper application of this innovative protocol.
According to Kurt Williams, president of NEMSPA, “This protocol will be a game changer in the helicopter EMS Industry. This is a tool that will help pilots make better decisions when faced with deteriorating weather conditions and will ultimately save lives.” According to Williams, when faced with deteriorating weather conditions the natural tendency for most pilots is to slow down and descend. This tendency has been responsible for numerous accidents where the aircraft has impacted the ground in either controlled or uncontrolled flight.
Regulations require pilots to maintain minimum visibility and ceiling requirements, but according to Williams it’s been demonstrated that it can be extremely difficult for pilots to judge visibility in deteriorating weather conditions. “We are asking pilots to determine the difference between 3 miles and 2 miles of visibility, in the dark, while managing all the aspects of a helicopter flight in deteriorating weather” said Williams. “This protocol will provide pilots with concrete evidence that they can leverage in the decision making process which will enhance safety for their crews and patients.”
NEMSPA is holding an organizational meeting in Washington DC on May 11, 2015 with high ranking officials from the National Highway and Transportation Safety Administration, numerous Federal Aviation Administration representatives and additional safety and industry professionals. Following the May 11th meeting testing of the protocol will begin in helicopter simulator devices in Shreveport LA. Metro Aviation, a leading provider of Air Medical Helicopter services, has donated simulator time for the data collection and verification phase of the protocol. For more information about NEMSPA and the EDP protocol visit the NEMSPA website at: www.nemspa.org